Sunday, January 4, 2015 5:27 pm
Seven Poles and one Filipino were on board the Cypriot-registered Cemfjord, a cargo ship carrying cement, which capsized around 15 miles (24 kilometres) from Wick on the northeast tip of Scotland.
Two helicopters, four lifeboats and five coastguard rescue teams are involved in the search for survivors.
The prow of the Cemfjord had been sticking upright out of the water but the ship has now sunk completely.
“The vessel is no longer visible,” said a spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
“The coastguard rescue teams are still searching and the helicopters are still up. So the search is still going on,” but there had been no sign of the crew.
The ship’s last-known position was at 1315 GMT on Friday. A passing ferry spotted the upturned hull at around 1430 GMT on Saturday.
“The captain gave an announcement to say they had contacted the coastguard, that we were actually the first to come across this, and they had asked us to start conducting a search for any debris or any lifeboats,” passenger Caitlin Ditchfield told the BBC.
“Everyone was trying to help with the search, looking out the windows to see what they could see.”
Brise of Hamburg, managers of the cement carrier, confirmed in a statement that the crew of eight were missing “following a severe accident”.
“No distress call was received from the vessel. Bad weather prevailed in the area at the time.
“The crew consists of seven Polish seafarers and one Filipino mariner. The company is in the process of informing the families.”
Built in 1984, the 83-metre vessel successfully completed her classification renewal inspections in December, Brise said.
It was carrying a cargo of 2,000 tonnes of cement from Aalborg in Denmark to Runcorn near Liverpool on the northwest English coast.